Cormier shuts out Storm; Spirit move into 6th place
New Jersey Devils prospect earns third shutout of season, franchise-record 8th in Spirit career
Guelph, ON. – On Friday night, the Saginaw Spirit (29-26-8-0) traveled to Guelph for a matchup against the Storm (28-27-5-4) for the initial contest of a lengthy road trip. In the first period, Marcus Crawford provided the Spirit with a 1-0 lead as he flung the puck into the Storm net off the skate of Isaac Ratcliffe. Spirit netminder Evan Cormier looked sharp and brought the club into the third period with a 1-0 lead. Cormier remained stout and formed an impenetrable wall with several key saves in the final 20 minutes. With the Storm netminder pulled, Blade Jenkins reached the 20-goal benchmark and provided an insurance goal on the night. Guelph pulled their goalie once more as Mason Kohn buried an empty net goal to give the Spirit a 3-0 victory.
In the opening frame, Saginaw assumed the leader’s position midway through the period when Crawford registered his 13th goal of the season. Positioned on the half wall, Crawford collected the puck and launched a shot toward the Storm net. His shot deflected off a Storm defender and went into the net with Danny Katic and Aidan Prueter recording assists on the play. Later in the period, Cormier stonewalled Zach Poirier on the breakaway to keep the Spirit ahead not once but twice in the first period, keeping his unblemished sheet heading into the break. Saginaw outshot Guelph 12-8 in the opening stanza.
In the middle period, the Spirit had an opportunity to test their special teams, killing off a Storm power play. The Storm failed to score once again as Cormier calmly deflected six shots in the frame. The Spirit outshot the Storm 7-6 in the second period.
In the final period, Saginaw burned off a tripping penalty in another strong special teams display. The Storm had several quality chances amid 18 third period shots, but Cormier spelled each opportunity, including a series of threatening chances from St. Louis Blues prospect Alexey Toropchenko. Towards the end of the period, Guelph pulled goalie Anthony Popovich, allowing first Jenkins and then later on Kohn to add empty net goals for the Spirit. Jenkins notched his 20th goal of the season and Kohn secured his 18th tally. D.J. Busdeker and Max Grondin picked up assists on Jenkins’ goal while Cole Coskey and Damien Giroux assisted on Kohn’s scoring effort. The Storm did outshoot the Spirit in the final frame, 19-8. Evan Cormier made 32 saves, earning his third shutout of the season and his Spirit franchise-record 8th of his career.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game
- Evan Cormier (SAG) – W, SO, 32 saves
- Anthony Popovich (GUE) – 25 saves
- Marcus Crawford (SAG) – GWG, +2
The Saginaw Spirit (29-26-8-0, 66 points, 3rd in West Division) will take on the Owen Sound Attack (33-22-3-5, 74 points, 3rd in Midwest Division) on Saturday, March 10th, 2018 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.